Israeli PM for peace deal with Palestinians

Jerusalem, May 1 (IANS) Israel needs to strike a peace deal with the Palestinians in order to prevent the Jewish nation from becoming a “bi-national state”, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday.

Netanyahu told senior foreign ministry officials that he was “hoping that the negations with the the Palestinians will resume soon”, Xinhua said quoting local media reports.

He alleged that the root of the conflict is “not territorial” but the refusal to recognise the very existence of the Jewish state.

“It is not Yitzhar, a settlement in the West Bank, but Haifa, Akko, Jaffa and Ashkelon,” said Netanyahu.

He declined to comment on the Arab League’s initiative calling for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians based on the borders of the Jewish state before the 1967 Mideast War.

Many Jewish Israelis fear a shift in the demographic makeup of their country, as 20 percent of the population are Arabs and more than 2.5 million Palestinians live in the occupied territories in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians came to a halt in 2010 over Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.

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